Broadcasters to Address Audio Loudness
October 14, 2009
Broadcasters are on the brink of mitigating loud TV commercials just as
lawmakers bandy about legislation to make them do so. The Advanced Television
Systems Committee will hold a seminar on audio loudness Wednesday, Nov. 4, in
Washington, D.C., where a recommended practice will be outlined. The ATSC has
had a committee working on loudness levels for two years, and anticipated
completing an RP this year.
“The seminar will provide detailed presentations on the ATSC Recommended
Practice; ‘Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for
Digital Television,’ now in the final stages of approval,” said ATSC President
Mark Richer. “This will be a great opportunity to learn about the Recommended
Practice from the audio experts who have worked for over two years to develop
The seminar will include presentations focused on the group’s work on DTV audio
loudness--an entirely different can of worms than analog loudness levels.
Several factors affect DTV loudness levels: When and in what form the ad is
delivered to the station. Timing of content--a quiet dramatic moment abutting a
bellowing man pitching mattresses. Signal processing through various
distribution platforms such as cable, satellite or IPTV, and decoding through
set-tops and receivers.
The cable and ad industries will be represented at the ATSC’s gathering. The
seminar will hit on issues in the field, measurement, monitoring, program
interchange, interstitial loudness levels, dynamic range control, metadata and
a report on lip sync. There will also be an update of the loudness legislation
recently passed by the House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications,
Technology and the Internet. H.R. 1084, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness
Mitigation Act would require the FCC to adopt broadcast loudness standards
within a year of enactment.
Presenters at the ATSC event will include Pat Waddell of Harmonic, head of the
ATSC Specialist Group on Video and Audio Coding; David Donovan of MSTV; Steve
Lyman of Dolby; the NAB;s Graham Jones; Tim Carroll of Linear Acoustic; Jim DeFilippis of Fox; Gregg Coppa of CBS;
Sean Richardson from Starz Entertainment; Adam Goldberg of the AGP and others.
The event will be held at the Wiley Rein Conference Center, 1776 K Street, NW,
in Washington. D.C., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by a cocktail reception. Pre-registration
online is $50 for ATSC members; on-site registration is $75.
More on loudness:
October 8, 2009: “TV Loudness Bill
The House Communications subcommittee today passed legislation that would quell
the volume on TV commercials.
June 15, 2009: “Broadcasters Avert
Loudness Bill for Now”
Let us get that for you, broadcasters told lawmakers bent on regulating
television audio. Reports from last week’s hearing on a law to equalize audio
between commercials and program content indicate that legislators agreed to let
broadcasters handle the problem
June 9, 2009: “Legislators Want to
Outlaw Loud TV Commercials”
The three-part bill instructs the commission to enjoin commercials from being
“excessively noisy or strident;” and from having modulation and loudness levels
that “substantially” exceed the accompanying programming.
(Image by Kevin T. Houle)